DeFoor Hospitality Group Just Keeps Growing

  • Friday, September 15, 2023
Richard Pauley
Richard Pauley

A hotel management group that began with the construction of an Embassy Suites near Hamilton Place just keeps growing, members of the Civitan Club were told Friday.

Richard Pauley, who heads up the management group, said Byron DeFoor then bought the quaint 17-room Islands Inn at Vero Beach, Fla., as well as a Sheraton at Madison, Wis.

Turning their attention to Chattanooga, the DeFoors acquired a rundown Days Inn as well as the Marriott and Hotel Indigo (at the former St. Barnabas).

He said the Days Inn was shut down for 30 days as it was completely upgraded. There are some 3,000 Days Inn hotels, and this one is in the top 25, he said.

Another acquisition was the old Downtowner near the Read House that was upgraded to Hotel Bo.

Then the former Bode hotel was acquired on Chestnut Street and converted to the Hotel Clemons in honor of the furniture company that once operated there.

Mr. Pauley said a major acquisition by Byron and Ken DeFoor was the former BlueCross Gold Building on Pine Street. Work was quickly begun to open a Westin hotel in the iconic building.

The Westin is the centerpiece of the brothers' West Village, that includes the whole block at the old Gilman Paint.

Mr. Pauley said the Westin "came out with guns blazing. We opened on a Tuesday and it was sold out on Friday."

However, then came COVID with the brothers keeping the Westin going with its many employees as guests plummeted.

The local Westin has always been in the top 10 of that chain and at one time was second - behind the one at Lima, Peru.

He said the DeFoors are "very unassuming" and are "great to work for." He said they have set up the West Village so it has a family atmosphere.

Mr. Pauley said the management group no longer handles the Embassy Suites or the Sheraton in Wisconsin, but does manage the rest of the growing Chattanooga-based hotel group.

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